Airbus, ST Engineering expands conversion program for A321 freighters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An Airbus logo can be seen at the entrance of its factory in Blagnac near Toulouse

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Singapore-based Airbus and ST Engineering have announced plans to set up new locations in China, Germany and the US by 2023 to convert A321 passenger aircraft to freighters after the first went into service at Qantas Airways Ltd (AX 🙂 on Tuesday was asked.

The joint venture of Elbe Flugzeugwerke GmbH (EFW) between Airbus SE (PA 🙂 and Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (SI 🙂 will expand beyond Singapore and convert around 25 aircraft annually to meet the increasing demand for special cargo planes.

Around half of the air cargo carried worldwide normally flies in the belly of passenger jets and not in special freighters. However, pandemic flight cuts due to weak demand for travel have impacted air cargo capacity.

“The completion of our first A321P2F is timely as the program can help airlines breathe new life into underutilized aircraft that would otherwise experience a harder landfall of their residual value,” said Jeffrey Lam, president of ST Engineering’s aerospace division .

According to consulting firm Ishka, the market value of a 10-year-old A321 passenger jet has fallen 16% to $ 21.5 million since January, while the monthly lease rate has decreased 33%.

The first converted A321 freighter will be operated by Qantas on behalf of Australia Post and will include a large main cargo door that is hydraulically operated and electrically locked, the joint venture said.

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